Friday, 22nd January 2021

The Tories' foolproof guide to governing by headlines

DO you think Britain should be governed purely on the basis of what gets positive headlines? Here junior minister Denys Finch Hatton explains the government’s winning strategy.

Prioritise trivial shit

People hate not being able to get their hair restyled, go to McDonald’s or buy a shrub at the garden centre. So we put off announcing a lockdown then relaxed it ASAP. Loads of people are dead now, but we got some upbeat headlines last summer and that’s what counts.

Do crazy U-turns

Last year we weren’t being told what to do by Marcus Rashford. Then we were. This week we might ignore him again. My personal view is that he is either a great guy using his celebrity to make a difference, or an overpaid footballer who needs to piss off. It all depends on the headlines.

Free stuff

Getting people to sit in enclosed spaces during Eat Out To Help Out might not have been a good idea. But you are forgetting what I call ‘greedy bastard voters’. They loved stuffing their faces with almost-free pub grub and the papers went nuts over it, so we should definitely do it again. Maybe in 2024, to pick a random date.

Promise the moon on a stick

With Brexit we promised all manner of fictional benefits, leading to excellent headlines like ‘IT’S A GLORIOUS NEW BRITAIN’. When people realise it was all bollocks we’ll just offer them other things they’d like but will never materialise, such as free trousers and hanging.

Announce something then ignore it

Everyone likes nurses, right? They’re kind, hardworking and vital if you’re ill. So we announced there’d be loads more of them. There aren’t, and there won’t be, but all the media reported it. Maybe we’ll lie about affordable housing next time. Sorry, just my little joke – we already did.  

Work with your chums in the press

No harm can come of pandering to the most xenophobic, petty-minded and mental tabloid readers. Expect to see more Daily Express headlines like: ‘GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PLAN TO DEPORT FRENCH CHEESE AND POODLES’.